Para español, seleccione de la lista

The House over Time

Thomas Hagner purchased lot 78, the site of the future Knott House, in 1842. During the Hagners’ residence, the house looked very different from how it appears today. The building was originally a side hall structure with the hall running along the east side of the two-story house. The Hagners later doubled the size of the home so that it became a central hall structure with rooms on either side of the hall. Evidence of this is seen today in the attic, where the rafters of the original cypress shake roof are still visible. George Proctor, a free Black builder, probably built the home. He was a successful builder and carpenter who lived in Tallahassee at a time when most Black people in the city were enslaved.

Dr. George Betton purchased the house in 1883. He had a porch added to the front and an annex built onto the back of the house. This annex is the room furnished as the kitchen today.
His widow sold the house to Henrietta Wood in 1903. Sometime between 1903 and 1909, a wraparound porch was added across the front of the house and extended halfway down the east side. By the late 1920s, the house had been wired for electricity.

Luella Knott made several major changes to the home. Grand new columns on the front of the structure altered its appearance, giving it the look of an antebellum plantation home. Modifications to the wraparound porch created the privacy porch on the east side. Pocket doors that had once divided two rooms were removed to create one large living room. In the early 1930s, Mrs. Knott had the east porch enclosed and a kitchen annex built onto the enclosed porch. A second story added over the original annex at the back of the house contained a bedroom and a bath. Many other interior and exterior changes took place during the Knotts’ time in the house, with bathrooms and closets added, doors closed up or installed, and porches altered or constructed.

After William and Luella Knott passed away, their son Charlie continued to make changes to the house. He built onto the existing back porch and enclosed it, creating the room known as the “party room.” Charlie Knott left the house to the State of Florida after his death in 1985. In 1987, the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board, at the time a state agency, decided to restore the house to its 1928 appearance, and the additions added after 1928 were removed. The restored Knott House Museum opened to the public in 1992. In 1997, the Knott House came under management of the Museum of Florida History.

Artist’s conception of what the Hagner (Knott) House may have originally looked like, by Sarah Shaw


The Hagner (Knott) House, 1885

This image shows the rear of the house. It is the squared, two-story structure in the center, with two levels of back porches. The side of a one-story front porch is just visible on the right.

From View of the city of Tallahassee. State capital of Florida, county seat of Leon County, 1885, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


Knott House after the columns were added, but before the east porch was enclosed, ca. 1928–1930s

Knott House Museum collection


The east porch enclosed, with kitchen annex, ca. 1980s

At one point, the enclosed porch served as a breakfast room.

Knott House Museum collection


Back of the Knott House showing the two-story annex and Charlie Knott’s “party room,” ca. 1970s

Knott House Museum collection


The Hagner (Knott) House in 1884


The Hagner (Knott) House in 1895


The Hagner (Knott) House in 1916

From Sanborn maps, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries